Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 29–38

Through the Jungle of Biological Diversity


DOI: 10.1007/s10441-005-7001-6

Cite this article as:
Ricotta, C. Acta Biotheor (2005) 53: 29. doi:10.1007/s10441-005-7001-6


Biological diversity would apparently seem the most intuitive and easily studied of all the ecological concepts. However, in practice biodiversity has suffered from great number of definitions that vary with the specific needs of the different researchers, thus making it extremely confusing as an ecological concept. In this paper, I shortly review the concept of biodiversity showing that there exists a substantial ambiguity among ecologists as far as biodiversity conceptualization and evaluation is concerned. I conclude that, due to this major disagreement on its very nature, biodiversity may be defined simply as a set of multivariate summary statistics for quantifying different characteristics of community structure.

Key Words

functional diversitySchur concavitytaxonomic diversityweak diversity measures

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of Rome “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of Rome, “La Sapienza”RomeItaly